What were they thinking?

Before starting my journey into photojournalism I always wondered what photographers were thinking when they were taking photos. Was there some sort of extreme higher level thought process needed to produce eye pleasing photos?

Well, I made some photos I’m pretty happy with at Busch recently and thought back to what I was thinking when taking the photos. Little hint: there was no revolutionary thought process going on.

I’ll go over two of my favorites in a bit of detail.

One of the big things, or main part of the story, with playing at Busch was that, well, we’re playing at Busch. Early in the game I tried finding photos that told this. STLCC just revamped their entire athletic program and had new uniforms because of it. The only logo that displayed our team, “The Archers”, was on the players chest. I tried working of getting a photo of the logo and something identifying the Cardinals, but that just wasn’t working out. In the 3rd inning while in the first base side photo pit I saw the cardinals.com & MLB network billboard and made a photo with an Archer pitcher. It wasn’t till looking through my photos later that I noticed the retired numbers below. Luck has a lot to do with it.

The thought behind the photo below can be summed up simply with, “Ohhhh shiny.” Thanks to probably the best access at Busch possible, I was able to sit in the empty seats behind home plate to take photos. I noticed that the on-deck player was watching the pitcher and swinging the same time as the batter at-bat. The hope was to get them both at the end of their swing, but of course as soon as I noticed them doing this, each player alternated when they would swing and when they wouldn’t. I think this came out just as good, if not better. It still follows along the idea of, “omg we’re playing in Busch” so the empty seats, while empty, give a pretty good idea of the big stage we were on. We went with this photo for front in the lastest Montage issue. I switched from my 70-200 to 50mm to get the photo, thus some netting made its way into the top left of the frame.

When taking this photo I wasn’t even thinking how we would use it in the issue. This photo was for me, or “shooting for myself.” A major thing I’ve learned is you just have to do this. If you aren’t shooting for yourself anytime, you’ll burn out really quickly. It was just an added bonus that others liked it as well and we ended up using it.

While I’m still learning a lot each and every time I finish an assignment, I was pretty happy with my feature photos from the game — not so much the action shots. A recent MLB article explains in great detail the process MLB photographers go through each game they cover. It’s far from as easy as it seems. This particular paragraph spoke to me loudest:

“It takes patience. It takes knowledge. The light has to be right,” Pensinger said. “You can point your camera at second base and wait and eventually something is going to happen there. But it’s all the rest of the time, trying to put elements in the picture and make things work when there’s nobody on base. That takes a little bit of creativity. The willingness to get up and move around, to go to different places in the parks, when there are shadows on the field.

It’s a great read. http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20110913&content_id=24617334

I’ve learned that it’s less a formalized thought process, but more just recognizing things that you didn’t before and then making a photo out of it, at least for me.